Exercise Can Minimise The Degree Of Severe Cancer Complications, Study Finds

According to a new study, exercise can help in reducing the severity of serious cancer complications. Read on to know more. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Apr 05, 2022Updated at: Apr 05, 2022
Exercise Can Minimise The Degree Of Severe Cancer Complications, Study Finds

A regular exercise routine provides a wide range of physical and mental benefits. And now, researchers have found out yet another benefit of following a strict exercise schedule daily. According to a recent study, it was concluded that exercising before developing cancer was associated with slower tumor growth and helped in reducing the impact of a cancer complication, also known as wasting syndrome or cachexia. The study got published in the journal, 'Experimental Biology'. Read the article further to know more about this study. 

Cachexia is basically a metabolic wasting condition thay can have an impact on up to 80% of patients suffering from advanced cancer and is also associated with around a third of all fatalities due to cancer. People who have cachexia can have severe progressive muscle wasting, causing a decline in heart structure and function and an overall poor quality of life. Louisa Tichy, a graduate student in Traci Parry's lab at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said, "Most exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is easily accessible and affordable." He further added saying, "Therefore, engaging in consistent aerobic exercise such as running is a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of cancer and cancer complications."

Tichy will also present this new research at the American Society for Investigative Pathology annual meeting in the Experimental Biology (EB) 2022 meeting, which will be held from April 2–5 in Philadelphia. Previous research has proved that exercise can leave anti-inflammatory effects and can also positively affect cancer cachexia by slowing down the development and preserving cardiac structure and function. But, very less number studies have focused on the preconditioning. "Our preclinical study indicated that preconditioning—or exercise prior to tumor bearing— appears to play an important cardioprotective role during cancer cachexia by preserving cardiac structure and function. It also helped stunt tumor growth, even when animals did not exercise during the tumor-bearing period," said Tichy. 

Also read: Exercising Regularly Not Only Increases Strength But Also Prevent Cancer Growth: Study

For the new study, researchers conducted a test on mice that either exercised on a treadmill for eight weeks or did not exercise at all. After eight weeks, the researchers induced cancer in some of the mice who exercised and some mice who did not exercise while also keeping some mice from both groups cancer-free. The researchers concluded that mice with cancer that had sedentary lifestyle habits had poor heart function as measured through echocardiography. It was also compared with mice that exercised before any cancer induction. In addition, mice in the exercised group had lesser tumor volume and 60% smaller tumor relatively to mice in the sedentary group.

The researchers are still working to understand the underlying proteins and factors that get affected by cancer and exercise so that these details can be used to inform exercise effects. They will also focus on creating safe and effective exercise intererernce for cancer patients but would first require evaluating the most effective intensity, duration and timing of exercising in preclinical tests before moving on to studies in people.